Merri-bek City Council

Asbestos Contamination Detected In Melbourne Playgrounds Prompts Investigation

Authorities in Victoria have launched investigations following the discovery of asbestos in playground soil, sparking fears about potential health risks to children and families. 

Traces of asbestos were found at Hosken Reserve in Coburg North, amid ongoing upgrade works by the council. 

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Merri-bek City Council disclosed that asbestos had been identified at the north and south pitches of Hosken Reserve in January and March.

Officials have assured that the asbestos found at the site is non-friable and unlikely to crumble or become airborne.

A spokesperson for Merri-bek City Council said that the asbestos was localised to the soil and had not been detected in any other materials used in the upgrade project.

“This asbestos has also been localised to soil only and has not been detected in any materials being brought onto the site,” the spokesperson said.

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“There is also no evidence available at this time to suggest this incident is related to any other asbestos contamination cases across the state or nationally.”

Earlier in the week, asbestos was found at a Spotswood playground, prompting the closure of parts of Donald McLean reserve.

Experts have previously stated that bonded asbestos, if undisturbed and not airborne, poses a relatively low risk to human health. 

However, the mere presence of such a hazardous substance in areas frequented by children is unsettling.

Vicki Ward, a government minister, affirmed that the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) would be actively involved in the investigations. 

“The EPA are out there, they’re on the ground, they’re investigating and we’ll continue to monitor this closely.”

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